Yankees’ Josh Donaldson had a rough start to the year. He had triple slashed .222/.313/.372 before getting injured in 2022 after leaving the Twins and signing a deal with the franchise. Since his injury return on June 3, Donaldson’s slash line has dropped to a worse .200/.263/.316. Moreover, he has the team’s worst OPS of .578. With this, Josh’s batted ball data has taken a significant hit. His hard-hit rate, exit velo, barrel rate, and walk rate dropped from the 90th percentile to the mid-70s.
Donaldson is winging at more pitches out of the zone and making contact less frequently when he swings. The 36-year-old is known for his plate discipline and control over his swings while leaving undrivable pitches. However, he is offering more swings, significantly increasing his K-rate. And when he does make contact, he is hitting pitches that could not be pounded out of the ground.
What Is Wrong With Donaldson’s Hitting?
Further, the three-time All-Star has seen more fastballs than any season since 2014 and more changeups than any other season except his rookie year. Moreover, Josh Donaldson is cheating on fastballs, exposing him to offspeed stuff. His career record of .408 wOBA against heaters has dropped down to .342 this season. Against offspeed stuff, Donaldson’s career .326 wOBA has dipped to .326. His game against curves and sliders had been compromised too. But, the dropoff is no way near as dramatic as his inability to hit hot and cold.
Cheating could surface due to a lot of reasons, such as when a player presses, he could end up swinging too early and failing to make decent contact. If Josh is hurt, he might have to sacrifice some contact to be competitive without causing himself an injury.
Thus, with Josh aging and losing his bat speed, he might begin to cheat as he is aware that the old timing mechanism is worthless. Donaldson is extremely competitive and has already been sidelined due to injury this season. Thus, while it is hard to figure out what is wrong with Donaldson, the Yankees team will need to figure out why the veteran is struggling.
Moreover, when Donaldson has come good in small stretches this season, the Bombers have looked strong. Thus, without Josh, the Yankees’ power strength takes a big toll. Hence, the team needs to get Donaldson back in the form if they intend to extend their American League record of 60-23. Recently, the Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox by 6-5.